It was difficult to see past the aging, the wrinkles and grey hair. Yet at the same time it was impossible not to see past it. Warren was Warren. Like always has been from the day she first meet him, to the day she left him, to this very moment. He still had the piercing blue-grey eyes that see everything, and keen senses that have been honed for relying on them for so long. He still had long shaggy hair tied back by a leather strap, he still wore hand stitched leathers and furs. He still had a hawk on his shoulder, though she doubted it would be the same one from thirty years ago.
The cabin was exactly the same. It still was dusty, and smelled of tobacco, leather, and burning wood. It was a one room cabin with a loft above the room, made out of tree logs packed together with clay. It was decorated with antlers, and furs. There were guns propped against the wall. Knives are left on the table. Cobwebs hung in all the corners.
Wyn took it all like a dream. It’s been so long, and yet it seemed only a week ago. She sat on the fur covered chair with one leg tucked under her and her flask of rum in her hand. “It’s all the same.”
“No it aint.” Warren disagreed gruffly as he eyed her. “Nohtin’ stays the same. This aint, I aint, you…” He stopped and stared at her.
“No... yer- What the fuck are ya’ doin’ here Wood Nymph?”
“Just as surprised to see ya.”
“I never move ‘round. I’ve always been here.”
“Yeah… well I wasn’t sure where I was wonderin’.”
“Ya were just wonderin’?”
Wyn nodded and scanned over him. “Ya’ haven’t’ changed at all...”
“Like shit I aint! I’m an old man!”
Wyn couldn’t help but give him a toothy grin. “Ya’ were an ol’ man back then too Hermit.”
“Yeah… well ya’ just as beautiful as ya’ were back ‘en. Fel, maybe more so now. Time aint layin’ a fuckin’ finger on ya’ at all.”
Wyn didn’t reply to that, she only took a swig from her flask.
“Whatchya’ doin’ here Browneyes? Why ya’ hauntin’ an ol’ man with a dream ov the past?”
“Didn’t mean ta haunt ya’ Warren. I’m just… lost.” Wyn ran her free hand over her thick black hair. “I’m lost ‘n wonderin’, no idea where I’m goin’ or who I am no more.”
“So ya’ come to Ol’ Warren – nowhere else ta go.”
“I didn’t mean ta run intoya Love.”
“Ya never do. This time ya’ didn’t fall imma trap.”
Wyn smiled. “Na, just had a wild hermit pawin’ my gun.”
Warren took a swig from his wine skin, though Wyn knew it wasn’t filled with wine but with rum. Warren was the one that got her into rum after all.
“This place aint seen a lady’s touch.” She observed out loud as she allowed her eyes wonder over the messy cabin again.
“Yeah, aint too many wood nymphs that fall inta my traps like they used to.”
Wyn raised her eyebrows as her attention turned back to the old man. “Ya’ mean there aint been no one-“
“That wouldn’t be none ov yer fuckin’ business now would it?”
“Dunno ‘bout that... I never wanna ya’ unhappy.”
“Yeah… ya’ just wanna ya happy more than ya’ wanna me happy.”
Wyn stared at her rum flask, cringing on the inside. “Wasn’t like that…” she insisted, though in truth it was. She put her happiness before Warrens. She put her happiness before everyone else’s; it’s what she always did, even now. The whole reason she was out here was because she was trying to figure out what would make her happy, not Sim or Shinyass, or the Cartel – her.
Warren sighed and covered his hands with his face. He looked so very old when he did this, and vulnerable. Wyn looked away from him, feeling uncomfortable. “Yeah…” he mumbled into his hands, “I know…”
“Think ‘bout ya’ from time to time.” She confessed as her eyes went over to the fire burning in the fireplace. “Anytime I pick up my gun, or read a trail, yer words always go through my head.”
“Yet ya’ never came back”
“Na... it aint me ta look back.”
“’Xcept when yer lost…”
Wyn shook her head. “Even then Lover I just...” Wyn sighed. “I dunno who I am no more.”
“Watchya’ mean? Yer Wyn. Ya’ always been Wyn, ya’ sittin’ there bein’ so very… Wyn.”
“Yeah… Well… I thought I was different, thought I was somethin’ else than Wyn. Someone who wouldn’t walk ‘way from a man, someone who could be loyal, who could commit to someone –“
“But ya’ couldn’t with him. Just like ya’ couldn’t with me.”
“Ya know I feel sorry for ya’ Wood Nymph.”
“Well fuck ya’ Ol’ Hermit.”
“Ya aint ever gonna be truly happy.”
“’N how the fel ya’ fuckin’ figger that?”
“Cus yer aint nothin’ but walkin’ contradictions.”
Wyn blinked at him.
“I’m talkin’ ‘bout who ya’ are Browneyes. At yer core ya got two desires. The desire to truly be accepted in society, ‘n the desire to live with freedom.” He took another swig from his wine skin. “Problem is ta be accepted in a society ya’ gotta conform to that society, so ya’ gotta let go ov yer freedom. To have one of ‘em ya’ gotta give up the other, ‘en havin’ one will always make ya’ miss the other. Right now ya’ had acceptance with this bloke, so ya’ missed yer freedom.”
Wyn glared at him. “How the fel ya’ know wha’ I am? It’s been thirty fuckin’ years!”
“Didn’t ya’ just say ya’ were the same? Didn’t ya’ just say ya’ were lost cus ya’ couldn’t stay with this bloke like with me? Maybe be long time, but ya’ are who ya’ are, n I know ya’ real well. I loved ya’ for it.”
Wyn stayed silent and frowned at her flask. Her mind repeated his words, weighed them, and wondered what truth there was in them.
“As long as ya’ contradictory, ya’ aint gonna be happy for long ya know. It’s always gonna be one or the other.”
“So ya’ sayin’ I aint ever gonna be happy, ‘en I aint ever gonna stay with ya’ or Sim cus I’m some restless bitch?”
Warren took another drink from his wine skin. “Fuck Browneyes, ya’ really think I think that?”
“Well ya’ are soundin’ pretty damn bitter there.”
“Feh, ya’ broke my fuckin’ heart Wyn. I gotta right to feel bitter ‘bout ya’. But tha’ was thirty years ago, time healed over some wounds scabbed up the ol’ ticker. Now ya’ just a ghost ov my past, hauntin’ me from an ol’ well-known dream.”
“I really tried this time.” She whispered softly, her voice heavy with emotion. She turned towards her ex-lover. “I really tried with him Warren, he gave me everythin’ ‘n he was… he was like me.”
“Feh, if he was like ya’ then it was doomed from the start.”
“No I’m mean he was-“She stopped herself. Was it really worth arguing that someone was better just because they were half elf and half human too? She didn’t really quite think so. She shook her head and changed the subject. “What if I change?”
“Ya already tried that though, with this fella didn’t ya’?”
Wyn frowned and stared back in the fire. She spoke, with a lonely vulnerable voice that she would never speak with if it weren’t for the fact that she trusted her ex-lover, “I don’t wanna be ‘lone Warren. I don’t wanna die ‘lone...”
“Feh, don’t think ya’ ever gonna be ‘lone Browneyes. Not ya’.” He took another swig from his wine skin. “Ya… ya’ gotta shininess in ya’ that'll attract men like a moth to the flame. Ya’ always gonna be walkin’ talkin’ breathin’ desire ta men. Wouldn’t surprise me if ya’ got a bloke or five lined up ready n watin’ ta take this other bastard’s place.”
“”en I’ll never stay with any ov ‘em.”
“Prolly not, but then, knowin’ ya’, ya’ only take on lovers that are worthy ov ya’. Each one is gonna teach ya’ or show ya’ somethin’ that ya’ carry with ya’ for the rest ov yer life. Sooner or later ya’ figure out what really does make ya’ happy.” He studied her intently, his expression softening. “Ya’ deserve happiness ya’ know. Ya’ somethin’ tha’s for sure Wyn, but ya’ also a good girl in there.”
“Thanks Lover,” She smiled softly, “That’s twice now ya’ gave me a pet talk ta keep me goin’”
“Just... just don’t get lost inna ‘nother thirty years Wood Nymph… I aint gonna be ‘round.”
Wyn stared at him, startled by the reminder of his short life span. The grey hair and wrinkles became more apparent again. He wasn’t going to be around forever, she knew that, but she never really put thought into it either. Even if she hasn’t spoken to him in thirty years, she always assumed that he would be in the world, being warren. Her throat closed on her, and she felt tears welling up inside her. She fought it back passionately. It was useless to cry, neither she or Warren liked tears.
Instead she got up to her sitting place and walked over to him. He watched her as she straddled his lap and moved hair from his face. “Ya’ never change.” She said softly then leaned forward and put her mouth to his. He tasted like rum and tobacco. She closed her eyes and deepened the kiss as her heart raced. She felt like she was fifteen again, kissing the first real man, feeling love for the very first time in all of its dizzy, frustrating, confusing glory. She pulled close the man that caught her, and almost tamed her with a rough tenderness she has never seen in anyone else. She felt his hands go to her waste as he kissed back. She knew that if she wanted, she could probably just stay here. He would let her. She could stay here with him and try this kind of life again.
She pulled herself away, breaking the kiss, and looking into his eyes with a genuine smile. He simply looked at her, saying nothing.
“I’m never stopped lovin’ ya, Warren, ‘n I’m never gonna stop. Yer always have a piece of my heart.”
“Yeah…” He said gruffly then looked away, “Gotta a piece ov it, but not all ov it. Don’t change nothin’.”
“No... it don’t. Just like I’m gonna always love Sim. Don’t change the fact that I can’t be with neither of ya’ll.”
Warren said nothing. He simply stared at the cobwebs of his home.
Wyn slipped off his lap, and went to pick up her gun and guitar case.
“Yer leavin’ ‘gain then…:
“Like ya’ said… I aint one to stay in one place... gotta have my freedom…”
“’N acceptance? How ya’ gonna find that?”
“Might take a group ov goblins, but I might just get tha’ too, just… not in the romance department.”
“A group of goblins??” Warren stared at her.
Wyn gave him a saucy wink. “Seeya’ ‘round Hermit… if ya' don’t mind that is. I think I wanna come by here sometime in the next thirty years or so…. See how ya’ doin… ya’ know without bein’ lost ‘n all…”
Warren took a deep breath and nodded. Wyn gave him one last kiss, and then left him and his cabin. She went back to wondering, only this time she wasn’t as lost as before.